Jul 16, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam and partner Vito Cammisano (left) arrive at the 2014 ESPY Award show at Nokia Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Why Michael Sam won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS

Because people still ask the question “why did Michael Sam win the Arthur Ashe Courage award just for being gay?” If you asked that question, then you are quite literally the answer to your own query. Now that’s not something that happens everyday.
 
Michael Sam won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS tonight. He totally deserved it.
 

Sam has been through a lot in the past few months, his NFL draft wasn’t easy. For weeks before the draft we had to hear from NFL insiders, all of who hid their identity and only spoke anonymously, that the NFL wasn’t ready for a gay player. Never mind the fact that if look at how many men are in the NFL you know there are already gay players in the league. Never mind that Michael Sam was a Missouri Tiger whose teammates said many of them knew about his sexuality. Missouri won the SEC East. THE SEC, NOT CONFERENCE USA. Never mind that players with past drug, alcohol, and legal issues went ahead of him. When you look at it with an unbiased eye it’s hard to not come to the conclusion that Michael Sam had it tougher because of his sexuality. You certainly can disagree, but I think the only basis for that is probably in you, not the facts.
 
The folks who don’t understand how Michael Sam has shown courage, those are the same folks that were so worried about his sexuality being a “locker room distraction.” You see they don’t want to come out and say “I have a problem with gay people.” No, they want to hide behind a polite version of bigotry. They are the folks who also start conversations with “I’m not racist but…”
 
These polite bigots are nothing new. In the 1950s they argued that “the army shouldn’t be integrated because it would disturb unit cohesiveness.” That sounds an awful lot like “you can’t have a gay player in the locker room because it will cause problems.”
 
It’s such a cowardly form a bigotry. I sent out the following tweet earlier tonight:
 


 
The vast majority of replies to this tweet were positive, and I was happy to see them. There were also a few super hateful and ugly tweets, which were gross. The hateful folks have at least taken a stand though, you know what kind of person they are right away. What really bothers me are the “I just don’t know why we are making a big deal out of this” people. Those are the bigots in sheep’s clothing.
 
Michael Sam is a great football player and I do hope he gets the credit he deserves for football. To say that he shouldn’t also get credit for doing it the hard way, rather than hiding, is ridiculous.
 
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Tags: Missouri Tigers NFL St. Louis Rams

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